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Tower Pop has raised $2.1 million in funding for its Web3 battle royale and tower defense game Omega Royale.
The company aims to use a novel play-to-mint model, where players who are dedicated to the game and rank the highest can mint the collectible non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in the game. In that way, the company hopes to bring successful NFTs to mobile games.
Play-to-mint is a single-player web version with the game’s first NFTs as a prize for the top players. By introducing players to the game early on, the team has a chance to show the player audience what makes the game different and it helps spread awareness of the game.
Omega Royale with its unique battle royale mode will launch in alpha on the AppStore and Google Play Store as a mobile title in March. Over half a million of games played already in the play-to-mint game, and it is off to a good start with Day 1 retention at 60%, Day 7 retention at 38% and Day 30 retention at 16%.
That’s good as the play-to-mint game offers no metagame. It is just basically the same level over and over, so the founders are really excited about getting the full battle royale game launched.
The funding round was led by Play Ventures, Agnitio Capital, and backed by angel investor Santiago R. Santos. This round was the second funding round for Tower Pop, with the previous round being closed in early 2021. After this round, Tower Pop has raised $2.8 million in total. The founders are cousins Fredrik Wahrman and Niklas Wahrman.
“We’re creating something completely new, something that has never been done before in the
gaming world: a Battle Royale Tower Defense game utilizing the blockchain,” the founders said. “Our mission is to develop a game that’s fun to play for years to come and we are thrilled to have such amazing investors on board.”
The crypto gaming scene is still in its infancy and there’s a lot of pioneering work to be done for a successful game model.
“Blockchain gaming is the new paradigm shift after free-to-play. Backing Omega Royale was a no-brainer because the Tower Pop team consists of industry veterans who have previously created the hit tower defense games Crazy Kings and Crazy Defense Heroes, tackling the challenges of free-to-play at the time,” said Santiago Santos, adviser and angel investor, in a statement. “I have great confidence that the team has top skills to shape the play-and-earn space in the best ways to serve the web3 community.”
As young cousins, they grew up playing games on the Commodore 64. In 2003, Fredrik was working in Canada and he founded Silverbird Studios to make mobile games in Canada. Niklas was also hired to join the study, and they did movie tie-in games for Warner Bros. The studio went under in the 2008 financial crisis, and then they started another studio TicBits in 2010 to make mobile games.
They started with casual games and then eventually switched to tower defense games where they could stand out. They sold that studio in 2016 to Animoca Brands. They stayed on until 2020 and then left to start another studio.
They started Tower Pop in 2020. With Tower Pop, they decided to stay in tower defense games but switch the focus to multiplayer games.
“The goal is like doing esports in tower defense,” Fredrik said.
A new kind of game
That’s why they added the battle royale element to tower defense. The interesting thing about it is combining the offensive gameplay of battle royale with the defensive gameplay of tower defense.
“We think we’ve cracked the formula for it,” Niklas said. “We were playing it in-house for over a year.”
The team has about 10 people, with a base in Finland. They launched a single-player version of the game on a website first, and they are adding the multiplayer aspect in Q1. As far as the blockchain part goes, they call it “Web 2.5.” Players can enjoy the game as a free-to-play title, but they can also opt to spend money and collect NFTs as well.
“With Web3, it enables it enables us basically to give that experience to players like sure they have with loot boxes, where you might actually find an NFT and that has real value because that value is then determined by the players, just like Magic the Gathering cards are sold on sites like TCGplayer.com and the value is determined by the player.
“So it gave gives the player much more fun and enjoyment when opening loot boxes,” Fredrik said. “This is a great opportunity to introduce it to free-to-play gamers. Because physically gamers are quite used to opening loot boxes and such. But the value that you get can change.”
Players are about to see what it’s like to have the multiplayer element with battle royale and tower defense combined.
“The reason why we’re doing battle royale is this. We worked with tower defense since our previous companies going back to 2012. That game was really inspiring. Like we love the Kingdom Rush series, as it was awesome games for the iPad when they came out,” Fredrik said. “But they were premium games. But basically, we thought, ‘Why don’t they make a game like this, which is an awesome game and make it last longer because we want to play it for years because multiplayer is so much more fun.”
Overall, there are 10 players in the battle royale matches. On the mobile platforms iOS and Android, transactions take place in a traditional currency like in any other free-to-play game. But more options are available on a web portal. Regardless, every card in the game can be obtained by any player.
“We love the game ourselves and we played it with our investors, and that’s how they came in,” said Fredrik. “We’ve been fortunate enough that they believe that despite this, despite the downturn.”
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